Say Hello to the Worst Seminary in the World

Sometimes places that refer to themselves as seminaries are actually nothing more than big, theological dumpster fires.

After I had one of the most mind-numbing, incomprehensible exchanges with the president of Union Theological Seminary a few years ago, a listener to my radio program sent me a note. In it, he included the words of the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who, after studying briefly at Union, wrote in his biography of the feckless seminary,

> “There is no theology here... They talk a blue streak without the slightest substantive foundation... The students are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are unfamiliar with even the most basic of questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.”

If there was any question, nothing has changed at UTS. In a thread responding to the prominent Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, the seminary dropped some doozies:

> While divinely inspired, we deny the Bible is inerrant or infallible. It was written by men over centuries and thus reflects both God's truth and human sin & prejudice…We deny that salvation is only found through Christianity, that God's salvific grace is exclusive to any single faith or religion. Moreover, in God's eyes there is no difference in spiritual value or worth between those who are "in Christ" and those who aren't.

In case you’re wondering how these folks can be considered Christian when they reject the infallibility of Spirit-inspired scripture as well as salvation alone in Christ, there’s a fairly simple answer: they can’t. Not for any orthodox Christian perspective. I’m not sure if that would offend them or not, particularly that they seem to be quite content heretically diminishing the authority of God’s Word, the specific proclamations of Christ Himself, and the work of the Holy Spirit.

The entirety of their response thread was such a theological dumpster fire that the school felt obligated to respond days later with a clarification that, unsurprisingly, only made things worse:

> [O]nce you relinquish conviction that the Bible is *literally* God's word, faith becomes a messier affair…It's easier to simply believe that the Bible is a plain record of the divine, that it clearly and concisely states what Christians should believe. In a world that feels so chaotic, biblical infallibility can provide distinct comfort.

Umm, yes, that’s the lure Christianity offers to a lost world. Where the world is confused, Christ is consistent. Where the world is full of deceit, Christ is truthful. Where the world is unreliable and unpredictable, Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the Scriptures He affirmed are the same. That’s why the Bible is the only firm foundation for our feet in a world of shifting sand. So why would a pseudo-Christian institution surrender that?


> Moreover, relinquishing infallibility is the only means by which you can fully square Scripture with a loving, just God. A god that would condemn LGBTQ people for their love, or consign women to subservience, is not a god worth worshipping.

And there it is. If you look closely enough and wait long enough, humanists will always reveal themselves. For political or sociological reasons the folks at Union Theological Seminary are just like the ancient Greeks the Apostle Paul corrected at Mars Hill a couple thousand years ago. They are determining the attributes of a god they want to worship, they are forming that god, and they are worshipping it.

No one has broken it to them yet, that in such an arrangement, if they are determining ultimate value, ultimate morality, and what is worthy of worship…they are their own god.

Man, Bonhoeffer was right.

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You are spot on. I have a friend who went to and received a doctorate at UTS back in the late '80s and early '90s. Afterwards she divorced her husband and began a lesbian relationship. Since then she's been teaching a LBGTQabcxyz 'theology' course at a university in California that's so far removed from the truth I would laugh if it weren't so sad. Bonhoeffer was absolutely right.